A gathering of the United Nations. Photo: AFP

The Libyan government has denied reports making the rounds of slave auctions within its borders.

Libyan Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Elmahdi Elmajerb, disclosed this on Tuesday at a special UN Security Council meeting summoned by France over the alleged slave auction in the North African country.

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Elmajerb described the reports as a campaign to portray the country as racist and accused African governments of failing to take responsibility for the well-being of their citizens.

He said: “Libya is the victim of a large-scale false media campaign of defamation to portray it as a racist country.”

The Libyan envoy said authorities are investigating the slave auctions but that the international community must adopt an approach that tackles illegal migration.

“Any sanctions that target smugglers must also hit those traffickers operating outside Libya,” he said.

The reported slave auctions have raised questions about EU migration deals which UN officials have said have turned human traffickers into slave traders.

Migration will dominate an EU summit with the African Union in Ivory Coast this week.